Former Accountant of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), Peter Ramcharran, who is
wanted here to face fraud charges, is out on bail in a Canadian court pending deportation hearing.
There are also indications that the former official, one of several to be charged, may have got wind of the impending actions against him, spurring a decision to leave the country.
Both Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, and head of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), Assistant Commissioner of Police, Sydney James, confirmed that a court matter for Ramcharran was held Thursday.
According to the minister, the accountant was held Tuesday after Guyana made a request for extradition to the Canadian authorities.
Two days after being held, Ramcharran appeared in a Canadian court where he managed to secure bail via a bond. However, there are conditions attached to his release.
According to Minister Ramjattan, from his information, Ramcharran is due to return to court mid-July “pending the actual hearing as to whether he should be sent home to Guyana or not.”
Ramjattan noted that bail is normal in Canada for proceedings like this.
“We are urging the prosecutors (in Canada) to let the court know that he is a fugitive and that he should be sent back home to face charges.”
The minister also disclosed that it appears Ramcharran may have also breached immigration procedures.
In essence, Canadian authorities would be examining whether he could be sent back sooner on a deportation order. Extradition hearings are longer and it takes time before a person of interest is processed and sent back.
From all indications, the accountant travelled on valid visa in late April. However, Ramjattan disclosed, this is still being verified.
Last month, charges were filed against the former accountant for falsification of accounts while he was employed at that entity.
The charges were read in Ramcharran’s absence.
The former accountant had reportedly been residing in Canada and was reportedly reluctant to return because he believes his life could be in danger.
Special prosecutor Patrice Henry had told the court at the time that Ramcharran was aware that he should have been in court to hear the charges; however he did not present himself.
The Chief Magistrate had said at the hearing on June 5 that the head of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) needed to be present in court to confirm that Ramcharran was indeed informed that he should have been at court the day the warrant was issued.
That day, SOCU head, Sydney James, was present in court and confirmed that Ramcharran knew that he should have been in court to face the five charges.
A police source told Kaieteur News that when an arrest warrant is issued by the court, the police are informed and the necessary steps are taken to make the arrest.
With Ramcharran living in Canada the source explained that the arrest information for the charged accountant was passed to the International Police Organization (INTERPOL). The official explained that the arrest warrant is not an extradition request but this would be the next logical step.
James had told this newspaper that the former accountant is heavily implicated in the probe with regards to the six former GRDB board members that were charged.
The GRDB found itself in the spotlight after a forensic audit of that entity revealed among some of the “anomalies” uncovered were loans without proper paperwork or promissory notes.
There were other instances of persons in the agency using GRDB’s money to trade in foreign currency.
The losses for the government would have been significant, especially if the money was traded for less than it should have been.
The Auditor General and the forensic audit reports have all pointed to severe deficiencies in the manner the monies of the state have been handled by the entities.
Last month, six former GRDB officials were charged. It was alleged that between 2012 and 2015, the six officials committed the acts knowing that it was contrary to the entity’s standard operating procedures. They were not required to plead to the indictable offence.
That matter is now being taken summarily and is being heard in the magistrate’s court.
The six officials charged are former General Manager of the GRDB, Jagnarine Singh; General Secretary of the Rice Producers Association and former GRDB board member, Dharamkumar Seeraj; former Deputy General Manager, Madanlall Ramraj; former Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Amerindian Affairs and former GRDB Board member, Nigel Dharamlall; former General Manager of Guyana Oil Company and former GRDB board member, Badrie Persaud; and Deputy Permanent Secretary Finance Ministry of Agriculture, Prema Roopnarine.
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